Ward, 26, is 17-11-5 this season with a 2.55 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage. The Saskatoon, Sask., native currently ranks second in the NHL in total saves (1025), fourth in games played (34), fourth in minutes (1954), seventh in save percentage (.925) and tied for ninth in wins (17). He has allowed just 38 goals in his last 19 games, registering a 2.06 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage and suffering only four regulations losses during that span.
Originally drafted by the Hurricanes in the first round, 25th overall, in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, Ward is the franchise's all-time winningest goaltender, with a record of 155-11-28, a career goals-against average of 2.76 and 14 shutouts. In 2006, he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, going 15-8 with a 2.15 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage in leading the Hurricanes to the franchise's first Stanley Cup championship.
Staal, 26, leads the Hurricanes in goals (20), points (41), power-play goals (7), power-play points (14) and shots (153), and is tied for the team lead in game-winning goals (4). The Thunder Bay, Ont., native ranks tied for eighth in the NHL in goals (20) and tied for 14th in the league in scoring (41 points) this season. The Hurricanes' captain, Staal scored his 200th NHL goal as part of a five-point outing on Nov. 17 against Ottawa, and on Jan. 7 became just the third player in franchise history to reach the 20-goal mark in six consecutive seasons. The 2011 All-Star Game will mark Staal's fourth consecutive All-Star Game appearance, surpassing the franchise record he shared with Kevin Dineen (1987-1989). Staal, who was the MVP at the 2008 NHL All-Star Game in Atlanta, has totaled 469 points (213 goals, 256 assists) in 520 career NHL games. The Hurricanes' first-round selection, second overall, in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Staal also holds franchise records for playoff goals (19) and playoff points (43) and was the Hurricanes' leading scorer during their run to the 2006 Stanley Cup championship.
An additional honor has been bestowed on Canes player Jeff Skinner who was chosen as one of 12 NHL rookies to participate in the All-Star weekend. Skinner, 18, currently leads all NHL rookies in points (32) and is tied for first in assists (18) and second in goals (14). The youngest player in the NHL, Skinner ranks third among Hurricanes skaters in points, second in goals, fourth in assists, second in power-play points (11) and tied for first in power-play assists (8). Carolina's first-round pick, seventh overall in the 2010 NHL Entry draft.
The NHL, working in conjunction with the National Hockey League Players' Association, replaced the traditional conference vs. conference format for the All-Star teams with a player draft that will determine the team rosters for the 2011 NHL All-Star Game as well as the Honda NHL SuperSkills. The Jan. 28 NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft will be held at the Raleigh Convention Center.
The 2011 NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh will mark the first time Carolina has hosted NHL All-Star activities. The game will take place Saturday, Jan. 29 and Sunday, Jan. 30, and will include the Honda NHL SuperSkills. Live television coverage of both nights will be provided by VERSUS in the U.S.